Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2015 – Race Preview

©iancorless.com_GlenCoeMay2015-5261

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is just one week away. One of six races in the 2015 Skyrunning™ UK calendar, the ‘SGCS’ is arguably one of the most anticipated races in the UK in recent years. It was thought by many that the UK could not produce a race that would hark back to the roots of Skyrunning as seen at Trofeo Kima, the Dolomites SkyRace or Ice Trail Tarentaise. They were wrong! The UK may lack the altitude of the Alps or the Dolomites but we have mountains, routes and scrambles that will test the most experienced competitor.

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, curse recce May 2015

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, course recce May 2015

Shane Ohly from Ourea Events and course planner Gary Tompsett have come up with a beast of a course, a course that epitomizes the ethos of Skyrunning and in doing so, the race has turned the heads of not only the running world but also the media. 

‘We are not creating another mass participation fell or trail running event, but rather a world class Skyrunning course for experienced and competent participants,’ said Shane Ohly in a recent interview with the the BBC. ‘The Glen Coe Skyline is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.’

Never a true word has been spoken and to that end, the SGCS arguably has one of the most experienced fields assembled in any race that has taken place in the UK. A race that has required participants to ‘prove’ competence to take part has made interesting reading for the race directors and Skyrunning UK.

Looking through the 170+ runners who will toe the line on Saturday August 22nd has confirmed the depth and talent of each and every Skyrunner. A familiar thread is noted, buzz words such as Bob Graham Round, Cullin Ridge, experienced climber, Skyrunning, Dolomites and Trofeo Kima appear regularly in the entry list. It makes highlighting some of the key runners for the race difficult.

©iancorless.com_EmelieForsberg

However, one name clearly stands out, Emelie Forsberg. Emelie is the current Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance. In less than 3-years, Emelie has risen through the Skyrunning ranks to be the female face of the sport and her presence at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is more than a confirmation that this race is well and truly the ‘Dogs Bolx’ as one keen entrant stated!

‘I love the mountains and I love technical courses. This Salomon Glen Coe Skyline route looks amazing and a challenge. Ridge running and scrambling; I can’t wait!’ said Emelie after finishing 4th at the Dolomites SkyRace.

Jasmin Paris, fresh from victory at the Dragons Back Race will without doubt provide Emelie with a race. Jasmin’s experience of British fells and mountains may well provide a distinct advantage of the Skyrunning world champion?

Jasmin Paris - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jasmin Paris – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Sharon Bird is an Irish International athlete, Gabriel Lees is a British Ski Mountaineering Champion and Victoria Moseley has excelled at Scaffell Pike and the 3 Peaks Race. But the female talent does not stop here, recent V3K winner and experienced Sky and mountain runner, Sarah Ridgway will be in the mix and we also need to keep a close eye on Liz Barker, Gillian Caldwell and Sarah Ryan. The ladies race is brimming with talent and the podium is wide open.

‘The mountains provide a wonderful natural playground and non more so than those in and around Glen Coe, the 2015 edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is going to be a spectacle like no other race that has taken place within the UK. We are fully aware that this race is not for everyone,’ said Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK. ‘However, just like the top European races we want to invite people to come and join us for the weekend. We want a party, a celebration of running and in the process Ourea Events has in place opportunities to go into the mountains with guides and experience the race as spectators but in a safe way. This is going to be very special!’

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Esmond Tressider may well be the odds on favourite for the men’s race as he is a previous record holder for the Cullin Ridge and has had very recent experience of racing in Europe on the Skyrunner® World Series. The last minute withdrawal of Finlay Wild increases Es’s chances but Joe Symonds will without doubt have other thoughts. Joe like Es, understands the UK mountains and fells and has extensive experience of racing in Europe.

Jim Mann - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann won the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back Race with a world-class dominating performance makes him a podium favourite and potential race winner.

Florian Reichert - Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert – Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunner® World Series for several years and has had great success at VK and SKY races. He recently ran the Tromso SkyRace so the ridges and scrambling at Glen Coe will play into his hands. He is however a runner a runner that loves to go fast. Expect Florian to make places in the latter stages of the race.

Konrad Rawlik recently raced at the Dragons Back race and still produced a great performance despite injury. If fully recovered, we can expect Konrad to dictate the early pace and a podium place is a distinct possibility.

Scott Forbes, Anthony Alasdair, Andrew Barrington and Edward Hamer all may prove to be dark horses on a course that will test each and every participant to the limits. The race may only be ‘just’ over a marathon in distance but the accumulated ascent of over 4000m, technical ridges and scrambling make the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline THE race of 2015 and one that looks set to create a stir for years to come.

A celebration of running, a celebration of climbing; the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will bring to distinct sports together in a pure celebration of Skyrunning that offers a tribute and homage to the pioneering days of Marino Giacometti, Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi. To that end, on Friday night before the race, 2 films will be shown: ‘THE SKY’S THE LIMIT’ that provides an insight in to Skyrunning and the yet to be released (Oct 20th), Salomon SRTV episode, ‘FAST and LIGHT.

The future of Skyrunning in the UK is very exciting and Shane Ohly sums it up when he says:

‘I sincerely hope that aspirational races like the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will contribute to the growth of the sport both in terms of participation and general awareness within the wider running and outdoor community within the UK and worldwide, this is my goal for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and we will be working hard to achieve this.’

 Put the dates in your diary:  Friday August 21st to Sunday 23rd 2015

Race Day is August 22nd

SalomonGlenCoeSkylineFacebookLogo

Follow live via Trackers on the race website HERE

Photography and reports on iancorless.com

Twitter @talkultra on Instagram @iancorlessphotography Facebook HERE

Logo Banner

Marmot24 2015 – Race Summary and Images

©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-2179

The inaugural Marmot24 took place in 2014 and it proved to be one of the most challenging races of its type on the race calendar. Using a score format, participants raced over 12 or 24 hours on tough northern Lakeland terrain. Adding to the difficulty, the weather was grim. Yes, it was one seriously tough race.

This year another tough and challenging course was created in Southern Scotland (the Lowther Hills close to Dumfries) by Gary Tompsett. Once again using a score format (all controls had the same points) the objective for participants was to visit and accumulate points from as many controls as possible spread over an area of 200 square km’s. Needless to say, the potential for any 1 or 2-man (or woman or mixed) team to gain a 100% score was almost impossible.

©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-3168

However, several teams excelled in the tough conditions.

In contrast to 2014 when the 12-hour runners started at midnight, this year, all competitors started at midday. A centrally based camp would allow runners to return as often as they like to rest, sleep, eat and then go back out on the course. For the committed, they never returned until the end!

100 runners took on the challenge and although clear blue skies bathed base camp and the northern hills, the southern part of the course had looming clouds that unfortunately (unexpectedly) provided a very wet and miserable day.

©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-2698

From the off it was apparent that the northern fells seemed to be the preferred choice with clusters of controls offering good point scoring potential. The terrain may well have been more demanding in regard to elevation but underfoot it was dry, firm and fast. The south by contrast was flatter but extremely boggy. This boggy ground combined with wet weather made the south of the course not ideal. But sometimes you only find this out once you have committed yourself.

Route planning was extremely varied; some teams would start south, others in the north. Clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route options were endless and thus tracking and following of the event was very much a lottery.

©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-1670

One consensus for many appeared to be the potential to spend 10-12 hours on the fells, call in the HQ for food, maybe some sleep and a change of clothes and then head back out. However, once you get back in camp, immerse yourself in a warm sleeping bag, it can be difficult to get back out on what turned out to be a very chilly July night.

Rain had been falling for hours in the south and this resulted in many a runner bringing their race to an end with the 12-hour cut off. However, those who had gone north were much better prepared for a night out and some wild camped, bivvied or pushed on through.

©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-2536

Jim Tinnion, a regular competitor at these events (The Spine, Dragons Back and so on) commented post race:

“Lowther Hills was a super tough location with running as rough as you can imagine and some desperate descents. Happy with 2nd mixed pair: we didn’t quite have enough to match a great run by Simon and Carmen. Amazing stars last night at a freezing bivvy. Sleeping in survival bags isn’t ideal but we got a couple of hours sleep 15 miles after dinner in the Wanlockhead Inn. Brilliant event, very highly recommended but far and away the hardest mountain marathon challenge I know of.”

Teams had travelled from all over the UK and Europe to participate in this new and ground breaking event. Post race, they all concurred that the terrain and the difficult conditions had provided them all with an ultimate test. Bogs, marshes, bracken and ferns were a new experience to the ‘Europeans’ and it was clear to see the impact. ©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-3202

Top honors in the 12-hour went to Chris Baynham-Hughes who sweeped up a remarkable 25 controls. He was fast, in control and used supreme navigational skills and fitness to dominate the tough and challenging event. He timed his run perfectly finishing at Dursideer HQ in the final 15-minutes before the midnight chime. Full 12-hour results HERE. Sarah Fuller was 1st lady and Hamish Waring and Andy Heaton were the first pair.

The 24-hour race came down to a nail biter between Peter Wilkie and Rick Ansell. These hard core mountain men stayed out all night, pushed on through and looked to gain maximum points before returning back to base. They both accumulated 36 controls but Rick Ansell took top honors as he returned just 6-minutes before Peter. They don’t get much closer than that! Full 24-hour results HERE. Barry McElearney and Graham Cleminson were the first pair and Charlotte Turner and Lydia Farzin-Nia were the first ladies pair. No solo ladies ran the event.

Post race participants recovered with a bowl of hot chilli and of course route choices and course discussions took place, one thing became apparent; he combination of tough Scottish terrain, variable weather and wide spread controls set the Marmot24 apart from other events and it’s a format that was welcomed. Roll on 2016!

A full set of race images are available HERE

Race website HERE

Ourea_Events_Logo(600)